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The problem the legislation seeks to address is poorly understood; as a consequence the proposed regulatory scheme is misguided.The sponsor’s memorandum accompanying the e-STOP legislation speaks of a grave security risk posed by predators who utilize the internet to perpetrate sex crimes.The proposed law would authorize the state to provide private internet entities with electronic identifiers – user names, e-mail addresses, access providers – for all registered offenders so that internet entities may bar access to internet services and advise government entities, including law enforcement of “potential . These restrictions prohibit registered sex offenders from using the internet to access pornographic material and commercial social networking websites; to communicate with other individuals or groups for the purpose of promoting sexual relations with persons under the age of eighteen; or to communicate with a person under the age of eighteen when such offenders are over the age of eighteen.The sponsor’s memorandum accompanying the e-STOP bill states that the legislation would impose “reasonable and appropriate” restrictions on the use of the internet by registered sex offenders. Supreme Court jurisprudence, however, sets a higher bar: a broadly framed regulatory scheme restricting constitutional rights of speech and expression must be narrowly tailored to accomplish a compelling government interest. What’s more, as a practical matter, it is unlikely that the proposed legislation would deter unlawful activity facilitated by the internet.Aggressive policing of the internet has uncovered few instances of registered offenders engaged in criminal conduct.
It neither employs an individualized assessment of risk nor distinguishes between a level one offender and a level three offender.
With the introduction of this legislation, New York State continues to address the problem of sex offenses by pursuing policies that have the effect of marginalizing or banishing sex offenders. Patty Wetterling, whose son’s tragic death prompted the creation of federal and state sex offender registries, has been an outspoken critic of the use of such registries to marginalize and harass sex offenders. We need to look at what can help those released from prison to succeed so that they don’t victimize again – and that probably means housing and jobs and community support." There is considerable research that identifies the components of a best-practice model for preventing recidivism among sex offenders.
"Many states make former offenders register for life, restrict where they live, and make details known to the public. That model involves a coordinated program of monitoring, supervision and treatment, based upon a rigorous psychological and behavioral assessment of the individual.
The bill’s stated objective is to prevent former offenders from communicating with minors through social networking sites.
But a tremendous amount of communication takes places between adults on social networking sites.